Fort Collins dog trainer Tami Carrasco found not guilty of animal cruelty

Puppy in her care suffered eye, head injuries

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - A Fort Collins dog trainer accused of animal cruelty after a German shepherd puppy in her care had one eye hanging out of its socket, was found not guilty by a jury Tuesday.

American Dog School owner Tami Carrasco told 7NEWS in 2012 that she didn't know how 13-week old Baron was injured.

Investigators from the Larimer Humane Society cited Carrasco with animal cruelty due to the puppy's injuries.

The dog's eye had to be surgically removed.

Fort Collins resident Tiffany Brown told 7NEWS that she and her husband, Gregory, took Baron to the school for a two-day stay on Friday, Sept. 7. 2012.

"We texted her Saturday to see how he was doing, but got no response," Brown said. "We thought, 'no big deal, she's probably busy.'"

Brown said that when they went to pick Baron up, "The owner came out holding him saying she had no idea what happened to him."

"He was moaning and crying," Brown said. "His eye was clearly hanging out of his socket. He looked like he was dead."

In 2012, Carrasco theorized that the puppy got out of his kennel and was kicked by a horse.

Carrasco said she no longer believes that was the case, and wonders if Baron had some previous infection.

"There was no blood, but there was pus around his eye," Carrasco said.

When asked why she didn't take him to a vet, Carrasco said, "I was with Baron Friday night and all day Saturday. I picked him up, looked at him and there was no sign of injury."

She said it was the same the next morning.

"It was only when I called him when his owners came to pick him up that I saw the injury," Carrasco said.

Brown described Baron's injuries as horrific.

"He suffered five separate skull fractures," she said. "They weren't from being in an accident or from being dropped or kicked."

Brown said a veterinarian at Colorado State University determined the injuries were a day old.

Investigators said that's why they issued a citation to Carrasco.

"The citation was based on a report which said the injury was 12 to 24 hours old when Baron was brought to CSU. That's how we came up with the charge that she neglected to seek care for the animal," said Stephanie Ashley of the Larimer Humane Society, which is under contract to provide animal protection and animal control services to Fort Collins, Loveland and Larimer County.

Carrasco said the charge was unwarranted.

Brown countered, "The bottom line is I left him in her care. It was her responsibility to care for him and she didn't."

The trial was originally scheduled for October 2013, but was delayed on two occasions.

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